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Ukrainian officials say 16,000 children have been deported from Ukraine to Russia, but some estimates are much higher.
In March, the international criminal court issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and Russia’s children’s commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, alleging they were responsible for the “war crime of unlawful deportation” of children.
Peter Beaumont, a senior reporter for the Guardian, recounts the story of 15-year-old Alina, who was tricked into fleeing to Russia by her best friend’s mother. He tells Nosheen Iqbal why this system of camps, fostering and adoption is being used as a tactic of war.
Save Ukraine is a charity that supports families trying to get their children back. Olga Yerokhina, a spokesperson for the charity, tells Iqbal about the terrible ordeal families go through to be reunited. She says the system of removing children is driven by “the desire to destroy Ukraine, to destroy Ukrainian identity”.
“You don’t need to kill children, you can just brainwash them and make them think that Russia is a great empire and Ukraine is not a real state,” she says.
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